Ch. 9 - Early Morning

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Don't ask me what happened after we got home because I wasn't even awake for supper time. Who knew walking around on crutches was so exhausting? I did wake up briefly around eight o'clock to eat the plate of food Mom had left on the table beside me. I couldn't figure out how to hop my plate to the kitchen so I decided to leave it on the table and just go back to sleep.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, because I was so tired. But when I woke up at 4:30 am and couldn't go back to sleep, I seriously regretted my 5:00 pm bedtime. It made sense. I slept for almost 11 hours, so I was pretty sure I wasn't going back to sleep for the hour and a half remaining before my alarm would wake me.

I got up to get breakfast. I made cereal in a bowl with a lid and put it into a plastic bag so I could get it to the couch - don't judge me. I decided to eat and read to fill the time between when I did wake up and when I should have. I was elevating my leg on a pillow like the doctor told me to and Mom wasn't even here to check on me. I really wanted to get better. I wanted to dance again. So I was listening to the doctor as perfectly as humanly possible.

I was so engrossed in the book that I didn't notice my cereal getting soggy until halfway through the third chapter. I finished out that chapter as I slogged my way through my remaining cereal. Of course the chapter ended on a cliffhanger so I couldn't stop reading. Two more chapters and I still wanted to keep reading but it was 5:56 and my alarm would go off in four minutes so it was time to get up and get ready.

I put all of my dirty dishes into the plastic bag and made my way to the kitchen to put them into the sink. I could have washed them but I decided to give myself a few extra minutes for getting up the stairs as I was doing it myself this time. It was only as I was climbing the stairs that I remembered I promised Mom I would sleep in my own bed last night. I would have to apologize to her for that later.

I got ready and out the door the same way as yesterday except we were a little earlier so there was plenty of time for Gerard to play basketball before school and plenty of time for us to stop at our lockers before period one today.

"You go on ahead," I said to Theo as we got to my locker, "just leave my bags on the bench and I'll get everything as organized as I can. You can help me with the last steps after you get back."

I could tell he was weighing the options in his head. "Okay. I'll be right back so don't go anywhere crazy."

"Tell Shelley I said 'hi,'" I called after him.

"Em!" He looked embarrassed.

I turned back to my locker and started putting things away. I was so focused on staying upright while I was putting things into my locker that I didn't see or hear Terry approaching. And that was saying something. Terry was a tall, loud guy who was famous in our school for being the star basketball player. He was Jana's friend but I think I had talked to him maybe twice in my life.

"Hey. Em, right?" He picked up one of my books and handed it to me.

"Thanks." I took the book, "And yeah, Em is fine."

He passed me the rest of my books as I put them into my locker and helped me get the materials I needed for class into my backpack.

"Thanks," I said as he helped me get the backpack on, "I appreciate the help, Terry."

"No problem!" He was standing there awkwardly, looking as though he wanted to say something else.

"Am I in your way or something? I can move." I didn't remember his locker being close to mine but maybe his friend had given him the combination to theirs or something.

"No. It's not that," he wrung his hands. The dude looked seriously nervous. "I, uh. . ." I raised one eyebrow, encouraging him to continue.

"You need some help with English class?" I prompted after a long pause. "You want to know how I broke my leg or something?"

The awkward pause continued for what felt like minutes before he finally blurted out "I was wondering if you were able to go out and if you would maybe want to go out to dinner and a football game with me on Friday."

"Oh." I was genuinely stunned. That is not where I saw this conversation going. "I am allowed out. I'm not sure a football game would be smart, though. Stairs are kind of tricky."

"We can sit at the front. I have connections." He cocked a smile, "Does that mean you'll come?"

"I'd love to," I smiled before making a face, "as long as it's not sushi."

"No sushi. Noted. So I'll pick you up Friday around six. I guess maybe I should get your phone number." He gave me his phone to input it and then, as suddenly as he appeared, he was gone.

I had never done this kind of thing before so I was secretly glad he seemed to have it all figured out. I had never thought of him as a potential date before, but he seemed nice enough and he was Jana's friend. I was a firm believer in the concept of dating to get to know someone so I was a little (okay, a lot) excited that he had asked me. My first real date!

I was still in my excited haze when Theo came back to help me to class.

"You ready to go?" He looked at my backpack as though he wondered if I had taken it off.

"Yup! Terry helped me get it all packed up."

He looked at me and raised his eyebrow. I could FEEL his question rather than hear it, "Terry? Do you even know him?"

"He's Jana's friend!" I protested, "plus, he's nice." I didn't feel like talking about my first date in the middle of the school hallway. That would have to wait until we were in the car or at home. Plus, I wanted to tell Jana first.

I got settled into my desk and thanked Theo for helping me. Of course he brushed it off as no big deal, but to me it was a big deal. I relied on everyone around me so much since I broke my leg, and it was nice to know he and Jana would always be there. Well, Theo would always be there. Jana would be there if it was after 10:00 am. Which was good, because I suddenly realized I had no idea what people wear on dates to watch football games. I would seriously need Jana's help. 

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